Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani re-arrested in Assam just after getting bail
He was first arrested on April 20 for a tweet describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a Godse worshipper.
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani was re-arrested on Monday right after he was granted bail by a court in Assam’s Kokrajhar city for his tweets about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his lawyer Angshuman Bora told Scroll.in.
A new case related to allegedly assaulting an police official has been registered against Mevani at Barpeta Road police station.
The case has been filed based on a complaint by a woman police officer named Debika Brahma, who alleged that Mevani had “uttered slang words” and assaulted her while he was being taken from Guwahati airport to Kokrajhar district.
“He [Mevani] pointed finger towards me and tried to frighten me and pushed me on my seat with force,” Brahma wrote in her complaint. “He thus assaulted me during the execution of my legal duty of being a public servant and outraged my modesty by touching me inappropriately while pushing.”
Mevani has been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 294 (obscene act in any public place), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty).
He will be produced before the court in connection with the assault case on Tuesday.
Bora told PTI that the allegations against Mevani were atrocious and noted that the prosecution had not mentioned the matter when he was in police custody for three days or at the time when his bail plea was being heard in the Kokrajhar court earlier in the day.
Kokrajhar First Class Judicial Magistrate Bhavna Kakoty granted him bail on furnishing a bond of Rs 30,000 with two sureties in connection with the first case.
The court also directed him not to “directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any persons acquainted with the case”.
Tweets about Modi
Mevani, an Independent MLA, was first arrested on April 20 night by the Assam Police for tweets about Modi based on a police complaint by Arup Kumar Dey, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
The complaint said Mevani wrote on Twitter that “Modi worships and considers [Nathuram] Godse as God”. Godse had assassinated Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1948.
The complainant also mentioned the MLA’s advice to Modi to appeal for peace and harmony during his April 20 visit to communal violence-hit areas in Gujarat. The tweet, according to Dey, “has the propensity to disturb public tranquillity, prejudicial to maintenance of harmony among a certain section of people”.
The two tweets were posted by Mevani on April 18 and have been withheld by Twitter on “legal demand”.
In the bail order on Monday, the judge said that the tweet describing Modi as a Godse worshipper “prima facie does not represent any class, community, religious group of people, race, language”. Therefore, the court said there is no reasonable ground to keep Mevani in detention.
On Monday, Mevani claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were trying to tarnish his image, reported NKTV, an Assamese news channel.
“They want to destroy me,” Mevani added. “They’ve killed Rohit Vemula, they targeted Chandrashekhar Azad, now they are targeting me. “They have a serious problem with the Dalit and Ambedkarite movement because they believe in Manusmriti and we believe in the Constitution.”
He added that Modi was targeting him just like BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, was targeted by Hindutva idealogue Vinayak Savarkar.
The Congress had sent a team of lawyers to secure bail for Mevani. While Mevani had extended support to the Congress last year, he had not joined the party.
In the first case, Mevani was detained in Palanpur city at 11.30 pm on April 20 and taken to Ahmedabad. From there, he was flown to Assam.
The MLA was booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, acts committed to outrage religious feelings, insulting to provoke breach of the peace, preventing officer from discharging his duty and causing fear to the public. He was also booked under the Information Technology Act.
Also read: Jignesh Mevani arrest shows Modi’s critics don’t have the same freedom of speech as his supporters